Matlock Town 1, Rushall Olympics 0
Late pressure told as Matlock deservedly took all three points at the Reynolds Stadium.
Visitors Rushall Olympic, playing at Matlock for the first time, but down to ten men since the 74th minute when substitute Matty Lewis saw red for elbowing Liam King, could in the end have few complaints about the outcome, as the Gladiators, showing a pleasing never-say-die attitude, battered them during the final 20 minutes.
The hosts will not care one jot that the winner came from the penalty spot. Only their second league victory since the end of November came when Grant Beckett handled in the box and debutant Lewis McMahon was ice cool in slamming the ball low inside the post, this coming in the first of five added minutes at the end.
McMahon’s sweet turn on the edge of the box nearly brought an opener in the 21st minute, the former Sheffield Wednesday and York striker firing across the face of goal.
There was far more urgency in Matlock’s play as time progressed, particularly after Lewis’s dismissal.
Shortly afterwards Gemmell produced a top class save from a Bettney free kick to fingertip the ball over the bar.
In a flurry of chances, Lukic headed a Bettney free kick wide before King’s shot was booted off the line. Nightingale who had replaced Gaughan found the net with a bullet header with five minutes left, but the offside flag chalked the effort off.
Successive shots from Bowler and Holmes were blocked, with penalty appeals for handball being refused but McMahon took responsibility with the stoppage time penalty to give the Gladiators a massive three points.
Matlock: Kennedy, Harcourt, Featherstone, King, Gaughan (Nightingale 65), Lukic, Davies, Bowler, Holmes, McMahon, Algar (Bettney 59) Other subs: Wilkin, Buxton.